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Merits of adding Secwépemc to stop signs debated

Stop signs featuring the Secwépemc language can be found around the Thompson Rivers University campus.
January 21, 2015 - 1:27 PM

'THERE'S NO ABILITY TO SAY YES TO THIS'

KAMLOOPS - Provincial legislation says we can’t add another language to stop signs but that did not stop council from spending nearly 20 minutes debating the merits of adding Secwépemc to the signs Tuesday afternoon.

According to the Motor Vehicle Act, the only word permitted on the sign is ‘stop’ and both the federal and provincial standards recommend marking be in English only, using the English alphabet.

The potential confusion to motorists is considered too much of a risk, staff says in a report to council, adding they do not believe an additional language should be added even if it was not contrary to regulations.

Though staff had already obtained a legal opinion that advised against the addition of a second language to city stop signs, Coun. Donovan Cavers still felt the need to debate whether a stop sign is recognizable regardless of the words on it. He, and Coun. Tina Lange, also questioned why the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc land could have signs with both languages.

Cavers suggested a community forum to further discuss it but only Lange was willing to support him in that idea.

“I’m not hearing a lot of people opposed to the concept, other than the fact it’s against provincial regulations, which we’re governed by,” Mayor Peter Milobar pointed out. “There’s no ability to say yes to this.”

Fellow council members looked rather at other options for recognizing the Secwépemc culture. Milobar will be meeting with Chief Shane Gottfriedson later this week and will take the opportunity to further open up a conversation on other ways to recognize the local First Nations culture.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Jennifer Stahn at jstahn@infonews.ca or call 250-819-3723. To contact an editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

Coun. Donovan Cavers holds up a picture of a sign at Thompson Rivers University and asks council who wouldn't recognize a red octagonal sign in any language.
Coun. Donovan Cavers holds up a picture of a sign at Thompson Rivers University and asks council who wouldn't recognize a red octagonal sign in any language.
Image Credit: City of Kamloops webcast

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